Letters to the Editor

Published the week of July 26-August 1, 2000

 PARTY POOPERS
It is no surprise that the RFT would wish to smear the presidential campaign of Pat Buchanan. His candidacy represents the worst nightmare of any upwardly mobile left-winger: socially conservative, fiscally liberal.

However, the particular smear used in Jeannette Batz's article ("This Ain't No Party," RFT, July 19) that "several longtime Missouri (Reform Party) members have quit in disgust since an influx of Buchananites drew candidates whose views even state party chair Bill Lewin calls 'objectionable and repugnant'" is as false as it is breathless.

If a candidate were truly a "Buchananite," he or she would certainly have been involved in the Buchanan presidential campaigns of either '92 or '96 (where Buchanan won the Missouri Republican caucuses). However, the candidates you discussed in your article have no history with the Buchanan campaign and were, in fact, active members of the Reform, Democrat, Libertarian or U.S. Taxpayers parties during this period of time.

Further, when it became clear this year that some state candidates had filed for office who had white-supremacist and anti-woman views, at the earliest available opportunity (the state party convention in April), the Buchanan campaign proposed a resolution censuring those views. This proposed resolution was rejected by the state chair, the same Bill Lewin.

The RFT should know that any attempt to tar a candidate by means of guilt by involuntary association will be met by the general public with the same laughter with which they greeted the left's supposedly fatal blow to Ronald Reagan when he was endorsed in '80 and '84 by the Ku Klux Klan.
Don Griffin
Missouri Chairman
Buchanan for President

Donna Adams
At-large Delegate from Missouri
Reform Party Convention 2000

The Libertarian Party stands for more tolerance, more freedom and less government. Your comments associating Martin Lind-stedt with the Libertarian Party were misleading. We have no control over people who use our ballot access to run for office. Under state law, anyone willing to pay the filing fee can run. However, you should have noted that he lost every primary he was in (Libertarian voters overwhelmingly rejected him) and that he is the only person in history to be expelled from the Libertarian Party. I was on the state Libertarian Party executive committee when we voted to expel him for dishonorable conduct, and I can assure everyone that he does not represent the views of the Libertarian Party.

Libertarians believe that the proper role of government is to maintain public order and ensure commercial honesty, not to micromanage the lives of citizens and not to elevate one group over another. Our ideal was expressed by Thomas Jefferson when he said, "A government that prevents men from injuring one another, but leaves them otherwise free." If you are looking for a party that takes a commonsense, nonideological approach to public policy, that believes in keeping the government completely out of the abortion issue, that believes that government monopolies are just as bad or worse than private monopolies, that is totally opposed to corporate welfare, that believes in ending the war on drugs and that believes nobody has a right to someone else's money, you belong in the Libertarian Party.
Dick Illyes
Chairman
St. Louis County Libertarian Party

I thank writer Jeannette Batz and the RFT for the story about the Reform Party of Missouri and its candidates for office in 2000. The article accurately states that candidates with a wide variety of backgrounds, talents and political views are seeking the Reform Party's nomination in the August primary. Batz's article is an excellent starting point for researching the candidates who are in the Reform Party primary. The Internet is another great way to find out about the candidates. The Reform Party of Missouri provides links to most candidates' Web sites at www.MoReform.org and www.Missouri.Reformparty.org.

My main quibble with the article and cover page is the possible inference that the Reform Party will support any candidate who declares himself or herself a Reformer. This is not true of either our national or state party. Missouri law permits anyone to file as a Reformer by simply paying a filing fee, and our party does provide forums for candidates seeking our nomination, but we do not endorse all candidates who file as Reformers. Two weeks prior to the RFT cover story, in fact, Reformers met in Kansas City and passed a resolution which stated unequivocally that the local party would not support racial supremacists or separatists (the resolution is posted on our Web sites). And I should note that the two candidates who are in our national presidential primary -- Pat Buchanan and John Hagelin -- were even swifter in denouncing racist candidates.

Once again, though, I thank Batz and the Times. You have provided valuable information that will be very useful to St. Louis voters who are considering alternatives to politics as usual. I encourage readers to use the article as a tool to help them make their choices in the Reform primary on Aug. 8. I also urge readers to consider becoming candidates in future elections. America deserves candidates from a wider variety of backgrounds. Let's take back representative government!
Bill Lewin
Chairman
Reform Party of Missouri

SHE FEELS YOUR PAIN
Thanks for running the article on Jeanette Mott Oxford ("A Twist of Faith," RFT, July 19). I've known Jeanette for about seven years. Jeanette is a good person, one of the most caring, concerned people I've ever had the privilege to call my friend. She is not concerned with herself or what she will gain. Jeanette's concern is how she can help others, especially those living on the margins of society, how she can make St. Louis and all of Missouri better for all who live here. She has the remarkable ability to sincerely feel the pain of others and knows where her own faults, fears and phobias lie. Missouri needs this young woman in Jefferson City!
Joan Kernebeck

I DON'T BELIEVE IT
Once again, thanks to Ray Hartmann for another excellent column about the person telling the truth and refusing to lie on her citizenship oath ("Sage Advice," RFT, July 19). One question? Since the Bill of Rights states that the government can neither endorse nor discriminate against religion, wouldn't it be against Article 1 to force someone to acknowledge a supreme being? What if that person was an atheist? Wouldn't atheism be considered a form of religion and the government, by forcing an atheist to subscribe to a supreme being, in violation of that person's choice of religion?
Greg Bacon
Columbia, Mo.

PERSONAL-BAGGAGE CHECK
I've never been a huge fan of your new New Times film critics, but David Ehrenstein's utterly useless review of But I'm a Cheerleader was a cry for help ("Film," RFT, July 19). He starts off fairly competently by relaying the events of the film (though the film's concept is far too simple for the space he gives it), and then just as he's about to lift off into forming an opinion, he goes off on a strange tangent about being gay in America. This would be an interesting essay, but I care about the film, not about his life, especially not his carnal plans for later in the day. Even when he does voice an opinion, it's suspect. Saying that homophobia is the sole reason for the film's universally bad reviews makes Ehrenstein sound like he's basing his own opinion on the very same issue. Furthermore, his assertion that a comedy is not "the sort of movie" for "getting to the bottom of (sexual hypocrisy)" is rather unjustified. Satire has always been one of the most powerful tools of criticism around, especially in film, where more serious attacks often come across as pompous and self-righteous. Coincidentally, these are qualities Ehrenstein's nonreview seems to share. Tell this writer to leave his personal life at home next time.
Niles Baranowski

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